The Curse of the Pharaoh refers to the belief that any person who disturbs the Mummy of an Ancient Egyptian person, especially a pharoh, is placed under a curse. This curse, which does not differentiate between thieves and well-intentioned archaeologists, may allegedly cause bad luck, illness or death. Since the mid-twentieth century, many authors and documentaries have argued that curses are ‘real’ in the sense of being caused by scientifically explicable causes such as bacteria or radiation. However, the modern origins of Egyptian mummy curse tales, their development primarily in European cultures, the shift from magic to science to explain curses.
There are occasional instances of genuine ancient curses appearing inside or on the facade of a tomb in Saqqara of the Pharaoh Khentika Ikhekhi of the 6th Dynasty. These appear to be directed towards the priests to carefully protect the tomb and preserve ritual purity rather than a warning for potential robbers. Though there had been stories of curses going back to the nineteenth century, they multiplied in the aftermath of Howard Carter‘s discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Despite popular misconceptions, there was no actual written curse found in the Pharaoh’s tomb. The evidence for such curses relating to King Tutankhamun has been considered to be so meager that it is viewed as “unadulterated clap trap” by Donald B. Redford.